The Ultimate Guide to Buying an Air Fryer
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Shopping for air fryers? Or maybe air fryer toaster ovens? Our air fryer buying guide will help you find the perfect appliance for your needs.
Air fryers have become a household staple for many people, thanks to their ability to replicate the crunchy taste of fried foods without all the unhealthy oil. (Here’s an in-depth explainer of how an air fryer works.)
But so many models are available today that it can be hard to choose one—do you want a no-frills model? An air fryer-toaster oven combo? One with presets for your favorite foods? Before you commit to buying an air fryer, use our buying guide to find the perfect model for your needs. We’ve rounded up our Test Kitchen’s favorites, plus the best-rated air fryers on the market.
Check out our complete guide to air fryers, including the best recipes, cooking tips and more.
What to Consider When Finding the Best Air Fryer for You
Air fryers are still relative newcomers to the market—and there’s a lot to consider. We recommend starting with a budget. You’ll want to think about how much you have to spend on an air fryer. These appliances can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars, so it’s important to balance your budget with the features you want. Before you hit up the kitchen store, ask yourself:
- How big of an air fryer do I need?
- Do I want preset options?
- What about additional features?
The answers to these questions—plus our Test Kitchen’s guidance and expertise—can help you pick the perfect model for your family.
The Ultimate Guide to Air Fryers
Consider the Capacity
Typically, these appliances have a capacity between two and seven quarts, and because it’s key not to overcrowd the basket when cooking, you’ll want to think about how much food you plan to make in it.
If you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party, you’ll probably want a larger air fryer, while one- or two-person households can get by with a smaller model. However, keep in mind that the larger the capacity, the larger the appliance and the more counter space it will take up.
Air Fryers of All Sizes
Add on Presets for Popular Foods
Looking forward to making lots of french fries with your air fryer? Or maybe huge batches of wings for game day?
If you plan on cooking specific dishes (like these air fryable-foods) with your new appliance, you may want to look for a model with pre-programmed settings that will make the process easier. For instance, the Cosori air fryer has presets for 11 items from chicken and steak to vegetables and dessert. Take a look at these air fryer vegetable recipes.
Air Fryers with Built-In Presets
Check into Additional Features
Some air fryers have additional functionality that will make them a more versatile tool in the kitchen.
- Air fryer toaster ovens: One of the most popular combinations, these air fryers resemble a traditional toaster oven and can be used to bake, broil and toast.
- Air fryer dehydrators: If you like dehydrated fruits or homemade beef jerky, an air fryer with dehydrating abilities might be a good option for you.
- Air fryer rotisserie cookers: Many people love the flavor of a moist rotisserie chicken, and an air fryer rotisserie cooker combo allows you to make this delicious dish at home.
- Instant Pot air fryer lid: Don’t have space for another appliance? This handy lid turns your trusty Instant Pot into an air fryer!
Air Fryers with Added Features
The Bottom Line
Still need help deciding? Our Test Kitchen pros have put several air fryers through the paces, considering each one’s features, ease of use and performance. Most recently, a PowerXL air fryer caught our attention. This model had everything we wanted—a big basket, quick preheat time, intuitive controls—and more. If you’re still on the fence or trying to choose between models, try our top pick.